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A recently enacted emergency spending bill to keep the federal government open includes some good news for providers, including PTs, who received loans from Medicare: Payback deadlines have been postponed.

The bipartisan bill signed into law on Oct. 1 by President Trump will allow the government to remain open for business until Dec. 11, and includes provisions that push back repayments on Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program loans to one year after the loan was issued. The previous repayment deadline was expected to begin 120 days after issuance.

The new recoupment process also adopts a phased-in recoupment approach: Rather than require recoupment of 100% of a provider’s newly submitted claims until the loan was paid off, recoupment rates are set at 25% of claims for the first 11 months of repayment and 50% for the next six months. The aim is to recoup the entire loan amount within 29 months after the loan was issued. Repayments will be made by way of withholdings on Medicare reimbursements. Extended repayment plans beyond 20 months would impose a 4% interest rate.

The Advanced and Accelerated Payment Program issued an estimated $100 billion to providers between late March and late April to provide relief to providers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. CMS suspended the program on April 26, citing the availability of the $175 billion of health care provider relief payments, which began being distributed to providers on April 10.

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